Update on the cartoon mystery


Last week, I asked you to help with a mystery (Cartoon and Navy history buffs we need your help) and boy, did you ever help. If you recall, cartoonist T. Brian Kelly asked for help in identifying the cartoonist who drew the artwork for this stationery in the 1950s.

Here is what you came up with:

The stationery was sold to Sailors in boxed sets and all of the artwork was copyrighted by Carmelle, Inc. [credit to Keith, G. Mark, Chris], and a couple of us remember buying something similar in the Navy Exchanges, although the artwork was different [credit to Steve].

I originally thought Carmelle was the name of the artist, but it wasn’t. The copyright was owned by a stationery company called Carmelle, Inc., based out of California (San Diego, Burbank and eventually Anaheim) [credit to Denise, Larry, Bernhard, George, G.Mark].

They also produced Army art. These are from the company paper of the Argus Camera Company in 1954 [credit to Andrew].

From Argus Eyes 1954

From Argus Eyes 1954

The company eventually closed in 1990 but we have the name of the previous owners and the last registered agent and have reached out to both to see what they can tell us [credit to Larry, George, Bernhard]

Some historians tossed out some potential names like Bill Hume, Lawrence E. Stuckenschneider (“Stucky”), Phil Berube and others (did you know that Dr. Seuss drew extensively during WWII?), but so far we haven’t been able to identify the artist without a doubt [credit to Don, Ed].

Along the way, many people mentioned the Universal Ship Cancellation Society, which is an organization whose members collect cancellation stamps from Navy vessels. It is a fascinating hobby (you can find out about them at www.uscs.org). [Credit to Dennis, Ralph, Brian]

We even contacted USS HENDERSON (DD 785) Sailors (where the original envelope originated) and to see if they knew anything, and reached out on social media [credit to Bill, Craig].

So what’s the bottom line? These envelopes were printed and distributed by Carmelle, Inc. in the early 1950s and bought by Sailors to write letters home. We still don’t know who the artist was, but I think we might be getting close.

My best guess is that Carmelle used an in-house artist to do the work. I’ll keep you posted.

I would be remiss if I did not thank the incredible army of closet and professional history buffs who contributed to this fun research project. Thank you. I hope I gave you the proper credit for the information you dug up.

I’ll keep you posted if anything develops! If you discover any new information, drop us an email at quarterdeck@broadside.net.


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